Benalla Family Research Group (BFRG) was thrilled at the response it had to events run in conjunction with the 2021 Australian Heritage Festival.
The festival was on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 27 and 28, and featured events and workshops aimed at assisting people researching their family, town, property or a range of historical facts.
BFRG president Bill Willett said the two days were better than they had hoped.
“I’m most pleased with how it went,” Bill said.
“It was something that three of our members had worked hard on, for the last two months, and it all paid off.
“We did the cemetery walk and we had 18 people turn up, which is all we were allowing due to COVID restrictions.
“They were all very taken with what we said and we were very pleased with how it went.
“The weather worked in our favour, in fact I didn't even need a jumper and ended up with some sunburn.”
On top of the cemetery tour there were several workshops held at BFRG’s Church St home.
“We had a talk about what you can find on the internet, and what is not generally online,” Bill said.
“So we explained all the online resources available and where they can find information that is not easy to find.
“Some of the resources we have here are the only place you can see them.
“An example being the Benalla rate books. You can come down and look at the original rate books in front of you.
“A couple of the talks that we held were very pertinent to genealogy, which is what we do so they were very interesting.
“We had two ladies that came in for the workshop and one came back this morning and said it was the most inclusive, friendly workshop that she has been to, so that was really nice to hear.”
Bill said one of the best parts of being involved with BFRG was when they could help people fill in gaps about their family history.
“We had a lady come in here one day and she asked to know all about her grandfather,” Bill said.
“All she knew was he was in Benalla many years ago, and that he was an only child.
“So we looked him up, found out where he lived and worked in Benalla, and eventually uncovered that he was one of 13 siblings.
“She couldn’t believe it and went off to continue her research with 12 new branches of the family to explore.”
Bill thanked Benalla Mayor Danny Claridge and local councillors for attending some of the workshops.
“If anyone is interested in finding out about their family history, or if they would like to volunteer with BFRG they can pop along and introduce themselves,” he said.
BFRG is in the St Andrew’s Hall on Church St, Benalla, at the end of Mair St.
They are open Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10 am and 4 pm.